EDNA Myanmar pays tribute to the late Dr Richard Seymour, whose passion for entrepreneurship education inspires our ongoing activities across Myanmar.
Richard was one of the founders of our partner organization, the Entrepreneurship Development Network Asia (EDNA) and one the creators of the EDNA-LIFT project. Richard led these activities as part of his work with the University of Sydney where he was also the Co-Director of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Research Group (EIRG), a Senior Lecturer in International Business, and the Director of major University initiatives including the Remote & Rural Enterprise (RARE) Program and the Sydney Genesis StartUp Program.
Richard was a highly committed academic and created huge impact through the many challenging projects that he undertook, particularly in the developing countries across South East Asia. Richard’s scholarship was firmly rooted on the ground, and his inquiries were always centered on the challenges and problems faced by ordinary people in their everyday existence. Richard focused on having a real impact on the world first and foremost. He dared to break away from the norms and directed his scholarship wholeheartedly towards issues that he cared about. His passion and commitment were infectious, and working with him was always a rewarding experience. His amazing work has generated significant and meaningful impact to a great number of entrepreneurs across South East Asia and Australia.
Richard devoted his life working to create brilliant things for the world through education. He believed the work of a true educator is beyond the walls of the classroom and the papers one publishes. He believed quality education should not be limited to the students enrolled in Sydney. He believed in bringing education to the people who need it the most (and those deprived of it). These people to him were the youth, the women, people with disabilities and, in Myanmar’s case, people from ethnic minorities living in rural Myanmar.
Richard’s education materials were vital to the success of EDNA-LIFT project. In the hands of skilled mentors, his education approach helped bring divided communities closer (through shared learning experience), gave voice to village women (otherwise ignored), offered confidence and strength to ethnic people living in IDP camps (to start businesses and rebuild their lives). The program enables meaningful involvement & participation of all key people across the different spectrum of society. EDNA Myanmar became an undercurrent, which led to private, public and personal partnerships in communities and regions where it was never heard of or thought even possible. EDNA Myanmar took on a life of her own. Richard was most proud of the team, the team most proud of Richard’s professional conduct, hard work, kindness, and humility.
Throughout his time working with EDNA Myanmar, the team trained 170 mentors who have in turn mentored close to 9500 entrepreneurs across 10 regions in Myanmar. EDNA Myanmar was responsible for the creation of 900 new start-up enterprises, facilitated over 1600 enterprises to be profitable, sustainable & create employment, and helped over 2000 enterprises to grow their activities.
The EDNA Myanmar team would often see Richard overwhelmed and teary eyed when mentors or entrepreneurs come up to him and tell him how the program has helped their business or changed their lives. To him it was the ultimate acknowledgement. Richard spoke about his work with EDNA Myanmar as a “Humbling and Rewarding” experience. The work in Myanmar brought him much happiness and the will to continue this meaningful work.
We are all reminded that it is impossible to fill the space of this dear man who has left us too soon. EDNA Myanmar, with her partners across Asia and the world, aims to respect his wishes and, in his memory, do our best to continue his good work and enrich his legacy.